Canadians trash over 3 million tonnes of plastic waste each year, with single-use plastics being one of the biggest contributors.
You can make a difference by ditching single-use plastics from your lifestyle and your apartment with these 5 simple steps.
Step 1: Ditch plastic straws and cutlery
In Canada, over 57 million plastic straws are used daily. Plastic straws and cutlery cannot be recycled and often end up in our oceans; even if we place them in the garbage, they manage to escape the waste stream. Many Canadian restaurants have adopted the paper straw, but you can make a difference by only taking a straw when necessary, purchasing reusable straws, and carrying travel cutlery with you.
Step 2: Ditch plastic wrap
Plastic food wrap has many uses, but while it is convenient, it is not recyclable. Thankfully, Canadian companies such as Nature Bee Wraps, Abeego, and Mind Your Bees Wraps manufacture reusable cloths coated with bees wax that work better than plastic wrap. Plus, when the lifecycle of the wrap is up (about 12 months), you can compost it.
Step 3: Ditch plastic bags
A single plastic bag can take up to 1,000 years to degrade. In Canada, approximately 15 billion plastic bags are used every year. Make a difference by using cloth bags for your purchases and zero waste mesh produce bags for your produce. Reusable bags are washable and can replace hundreds of plastic bags.
Step 4: Ditch paper cups and coffee pods
Paper coffee cups are lined with a thin layer of plastic so liquids won't seep through. However, this also prevents them from being recycled. Instead, buy a reusable coffee mug and ask the restaurant to use it for your coffee, or make your own coffee at home or work. Coffee pods come with extra packaging with only a small amount being recyclable. Instead, use a reusable coffee pod filter or just brew the amount you need into your pot.
Step 5: Ditch chewing gum and bottled water
Chewing gum is made of synthetic plastics which don't biodegrade. 80-90% of chewing gum isn't disposed of properly. When fish consume littered gum, toxins are accumulated and reintroduced when we eat the fish. Switch to mints, liquorice, or parsley for fresh breath. Plastic water bottles can be recycled; however, their production and distribution is expensive. Switch to a stainless steel or glass bottle and refill as needed.